Tuesday, May 22, 2012

After the deluge

I'm sitting here chomping on a Boost (I took the fact that Woolies had my old mate on sale for $1 just as I finish the Blitzkrieg as a sign the universe wanted me to partake of one) and gazing at my side on after shot. How I love that shot. I might print it up and post it around the city so other people can gaze upon my beauty and brighten their day.

Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback, comments and questions. It really is appreciated. I was going to do this follow up with just a few key points I had picked up in case anyone was wanting to do their own challenge but following on from the feedback I'll go into a little more detail about my eating and training plan as well. To anyone that is thinking about it, my advice is do it. You will surprise yourself with how quickly things change!

The main things I took from the challenge that really helped me along the way to achieve my goal, in no particular order, are:

1. Accountability

I actually know a few people who have done a similar challenge now and all achieved unreal results. They all said the same thing - having someone or something that you are accountable to was instrumental in pushing them through the inevitable troughs. I have to agree. For me, having this blog and knowing that if I failed it would be on the world wide web for all to see kept me going, as did having Scotty Capelin there to report to. He would have called me out if he knew Ii wasn't putting in any effort or seeing any results. I suggest if you are going to give it a crack to write down your goals on a piece of paper and give it to a friend that you respect and that will be honest with you in how they think you are going. Report in to them each week with your exercising and food intake for the week which leads in to my next piont.....

2. Honesty

There are many things that will affect how you train and eat and what results you actually see. Honesty is key in making sure you achieve the results you want. If you are doing it so you have a better chance of nailing the hot bird on the train then don't try and tell yourself or anyone else that you "just want to get fitter" or "just be healthy". If you fell off the wagon last night and ploughed through 2 pizzas and a 1.25 ltr coke then washed it down with half a chocolate cake, say so. Don't write down in your food journal "grilled chick breast and half a cup of broccoli". Firstly, if you are not honest with why you are doing it (this goes for training in general and not just any challenge that you may have set yourself) then you are unlikely to get the results you want. Training to attract a girls attention would take a different path then training for sport or just general healthiness. If you have a blow out one night (and it will likely happen) own it, dont try and hide it and dont't feel bad (unless you are doing it every day). Make up for it by burning the extra calories the following day.

3. Preparation

Failing to prepare is preparing for failure. Taking the time to plan training sessions ahead of time will lead to a healthy progress in the right direction. Arriving at the gym and pottering around for half an hour while deciding what to do will likely result in doing very little and the little you do do will likely be just those exercises you like doing. Preparation is vitally important when it comes to food too. It takes a little extra effort to get up and make your lunch for the day but is well worth it. Where possible you will want to carry all your food for the day with you. You don't want to rely on shops for buying what you might think is healthy food as you don't know what they have put in it when preparing. Sometimes you may get caught out without food. In these cases make as healthy option as possible, if you have to eat a sandwich then go for multigrain bread or wholemeal. Make sure there is some lean protein in there and avoid butter, mayo or added salt.

4. Goals

If you don't have any specific goals set then you don't know where your heading and the only way you will get there is by pure luck - much like me when trying to pleasure a woman. Setting goals allows you to plot your path to success. Your goals should abide by the SMART principal - Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely

5. Prescence

Be present in your training. Don't just go through the motions. This will bring you more in tune with your body as well as helping you push through those days where you really can't be bothered (which will come, believe me). It's the pushing through these moments where you really feel your best. Like shares in a bull market, its easy to make money when everything is going good. It's when your feeling like shit that having the ability to push yourself through a quality training session can leave you feeling on top of the world. This also helps you to listen to your body. While at times it is good to push through those tired moments you need to listen to when your body is telling you to take a rest. Recovery is vital for growing stronger and leaner so even though you are training at a high volume and intensity, allow time for recovery. you can even work some active recovery in there with a few light training days - a light swim instead of boxing for instance.

6. Tracking / Training diary

I strongly suggest keeping a training and food diary. This allows you to keep track of how your progress with everything as well as preventing things like unconscious eating. For me personally, every time I entered in a good meal I felt like I had a little victory. I was just using an excel template I created, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. When it got deleted from my computer I don't think my eating was as good. Knowing that if and when I ate something that I wasn't supposed to that I would have to write it down really kept me from gonig to the biscuit tin or hitting 1 in my speed dial and ordering some Thai home delivery. Then after I had finished with my Thai lady going down the road for a feed of Macca's.

7. Education

I remember when I was younger we had a fellow signed up for footy from Cairns. Let's call him Bob. Bob came down and about halfway through the season broke his leg. Unable to run for 6 weeks Bob set about throwing himself into the gym to try and keep his health as much as he could. When he came back the trainer found out he had put on 10kg and his skinfolds had gone through the roof. Bob was stunned. His face scrunched up and his chins wobbled more than Harold Bishop's doing the Macarena. "I really don't know what could have gone wrong" Bob cried "I've been eating really well - Steaks for dinner, a lot of fruit through the day". When questioned further it turns out Bob had been eating about 2 cakes a day. Bob thought, because they were carrot cakes and banana cakes, they were filled with fruity goodness. Now granted that Bob wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but education is key in making right decisions in both food and exercise selection.

8. Ongoing plans

Whilst doing the challenge it is easy to get caught up staring squarely at the donut and not at the hole. You put in all this effort and get the results you were after then once it's done bang. you sit back on the lounge and start eating some macca's. You need to remember that health is a lifelong journey and not just for the time that the challenge is set. With this in mind it's a good idea to set some goals for post challenge or at the very least a plan to ensure a smooth transition. When doing a challenge like this you are going to have to make a few sacrifices as well as devote a fair amount of time to obtaining your goals. This isn't viable for the long term and you will need to come back to a plan with greater longevity to increase your own longevity.

9. Enjoyment / making it easy on yourself

Try to do exercise and eat food you actually enjoy. Some of you there will feel that is an oxymoron but seriously, there are that many activities out there just about everyone can find something that they like. If you can find somewhere near your work or home that will also help. It's an effort to get there, especially initially and so you want to cut down any excuses your mind may use to justify not going. Making it seem like less of an effort to get there will increase your likelihood for sticking to it.

10. Weights

Not a lot of people like them but resistance work needs to form part of any weight loss plan. Some people are worried about blowing up like Arnie but trust me, unless you eat 7000 calories a day, lift weights twice a day and inject 4 chicken farms worth of steroids into you every hour that isnt going to happen. Resistance and load bearing work can burn calories for twice the amount of time as cardio after the exercise is finished. Muscle mass also increases your metabolism as it costs the body more energy to maintain muscle mass than fat. Besides this, added muscle gives you a better look - the wafer look went out with Lara Flynn Boyle. Lara Flynn who you ask?? Exactly.

11. Personification

Something that really helped me push through at times was this blog - personifying the fat into a little army that I was doing battle with drove me to really fight them. I found myself picturing little white pieces of fat tissue with big Arab style beards and AK-47's and army helmets firing fat filled bullets at me. I had to set my troops onto them by eating healthily and exercising super hard. This weird little trick worked in my weirdly wired mind but you need to find what works for you. Is it picturing that hot bird from the train naked, shaved and presenting?? Or perhaps it's seeing yourself in that slinky dress you bought on Rodeo Drive 2 years ago but haven't been able to wear yet. Whatever it is, having something to focus on that pushes you through when your in the hurt locker can really help.

12. Sacrifice

There is inevitably going to have to be some sacrifices made by you if you want to be successful in a challenge like this. Mainly socially. Going out to dinner, going out for a beer. These are both big no no's. This could possibly lead to some negativity about your challenge from those around you. If you have a partner and/or a family it might be a good idea to sit down and discuss just what you will be doing beforehand so hopefully you can get them on board. Another big sacrifice that will have to be made is time. Training and planning meals etc is going to take up large portions of your day. For me, I don't have a family (at least not until after the court cases) so it wasn't so bad giving up 2-3 hours a day to train. I was only missing out on my daily television and porn time. If I had a family, I wouldn't have been able to devote as much time to it. That's not to say I couldn't do it, it just means I would have to adjust my expectations and training regime accordingly. I was seeing friends of mine down the gym at 5am who would train then go to work all day so they were home in time to see their kids. that's commitment.

Again, I can't stress enough just how great I feel having finished this challenge I set myself. It's helped to put me back onto a path again with re-discovering my passion for fitness and also giving me the courage and clarity to make a career change into the fitness industry, which I am really excited about. I'll be making the change about August, just as its coming into the warmer months, to try and help people get ready for summer! Bring it on!!!

As far as where to from here for me - well I'll be training for my fight coming up in about 10 weeks and after that 200km charity ride. I'll update in about 6 weeks to show how I'm travelling with my fitness and explain how i have changed up my training and eating to be more boxing specific.

Now in response to those that wanted to know, my eating looked like this:

Meal 1 (about 6am) - Yoghurt (yoplait forme brand - low-ish sugar, fat free) with almonds and small amount of oats sprinkled over it meal

Meal 2 (about 9am) - Protein shake with milk

Meal 3 (about 12pm) - Baby spinach leaves, 185gm tin tuna in springwater, 1/4 avocado, chickpeas and lentils (from a can)

Meal 4 (about 3pm) - 2 boiled eggs (generally only eat the white sometimesd I might eat a yolk)

Meal 5 (about 7pm) - (Post training) protein shake with water

Meal 6 (about 8.30pm) - Grilled chick breast with vegies (broccolli, cauliflour, carrot, asparagus)

On days I train in the morning as well as arvo I would train on an empty stomach, have my protein shake after training and yoghurt with the almonds but without the oats as meal 2.

I would stick to this basic plan most days, sometimes mix it up a little. Generally I would be sticking to keeping down carbs and fat and keeping up protein (to allow me to burn fat faster - by restricting carb intake the body will use fat stores for energy more readily). Cause fruits tend to contain carbs, especially things like bananas I would stay away but have been taking a multivitamin.

Once a week (I did Thursdays) I would have a protein only day. Protein only days I would eat something like this:

Meal 1 - steak

Meal 2 - Shake

Meal 3 - chick breast

Meal 4 - 2 x Egg whites

Meal 5 - shake

Meal 6 - kangaroo steak

I have to stress that I am not a dietician or nutritionist. This eating plan was made based on a basic model that I came up with from my own knowledge then tweaked a little based on feedback from Scotty Capelin. It worked for me but may or may not work for you. I wasn't counting calories or anything but did take into account percentage of protein, fat and carbs of each item.

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